I am so fortunate to be collaborating with a local craftsperson – Maria Nunes. Her hand made crochet jewellery is beautifully designed and crafted. Maria learned to crochet as a child, growing up in Portugal at a time when there was still no television, not even electricity! In school they were taught to knit and would make simple scarves and hats. At home, Maria’s mother taught her to crochet to make doilies, table scarves and trim for her ‘enxoval’ or trousseau.
Maria has continued to crochet and over the years has made many household items using traditional patterns. Recently, she has changed her style to reflect modern tastes, creating handcrafted pillows, wallhangings and of course jewellery!
Variegated, ombre, and with colour changes over very short areas have been a challenge for me. I have had to rethink my process as well as the amount of dye used! But it has been so much fun! I will also be indigo dyeing this spring and I can’t wait to see the jewellery she makes. I gave Maria all the indigo dyed cotton thread left from one of my projects. All of the pieces she made have been sold! It shows that blue and white is a much loved combination.
Magazines, and books are still places Maria finds inspiration, but more often she finds herself turning to Pinterest. Inspiration for her designs also come from working with the materials. A bead, the colour of the hand dyed cotton thread can start her on a new design. More and more often her jewellery includes beads, they really excite her with opportunities!
Maria believes that crochet is a dyeing art. She has tried to teach the next generation but with the competition for TV watching, and the internet with its so many social media outlets, it is a hard sell. Maria finds that crocheting is a relaxing and imaginative art. It has a calming effect allowing room for imagination.
I am collaborating with Maria on dyeing some new crochet cotton. More experimentation with colours, ombre effects, indigo and more. Follow Maria on Instagram @maria.n.designs to see what she is creating.